The Sleepy Owl, a new pattern
Noodles and sun and things

Sketching, stitching and inspiration

My mom has fed hummingbirds for as long as I can remember and they love her for it. My parents live on a hill and this led to the name of a wine that they were able to produce this year with grapes offered to them from a vineyard of my aunt and uncle's. Though the wine was meant to keep for another year before drinking, many, many glasses were drunk over our holiday to the sound of my father saying " a year it will be even better." It's already very great but I did bring back a couple of bottles to store for next year.

Ruby Throated hummingbird. This hummingbird ended up being stitched on the go everywhere: on the plane, while visiting friends and cousins, even while the family opened Christmas gifts. I finally handed it to my parents (the recipients) as I climbed into the taxi taking us to the airport to return back to England. My mom photographed it for me because there was not even time for for me to click a single picture. It's actual size, so it's tiny, but I did a lot of stitching and unstitching so it took time. It's hard to see but the ruby throat is made with lots of very small loops made with detached chain stitches. Silk thread would have been nice, but I use what I have on hand these days.

The wine label and the embroidery both started life as the first in a series of sketches of three different types of hummingbirds, remember these? 


I'm loving sketching with stitches these days and have several small projects on the go at once. I'm also enjoying trying more painterly styles. Here are two artists who are inspiring me, one in oils the other in crewel.

This oil painting in progress of Rick Beerhorst's is already gorgeous and I want it. I also adore the crewel work portrait stitching of Cayce Zavaglia; her pieces are extraordinary.

Image from Cross Stitcher magazine

There's a great interview with this incredible stitch artist here at Cross Stitcher magazine online. The latest print issue also happens to feature fabulous Nicole at Follow the White Bunny

Where are your sketches taking you these days?


margie oomen

love the hummingbird stitched so much
and i think perhaps i should start sketching and then perhaps i would know where it will take me:)


wow - that hummingbird is amazing! Even more so for being so tiny!
My sketches are really quite awful, and really only I can tell what they are. Luckily they're only ever of quilt blocks, so not too challenging ;)

Nicole FollowtheWhitebunny

Thanks for mentioning me! :) Aren't those crewel work portraits amazing and a self taught embroidery artist too, very inspiring indeed. The wine wouldn't last long in our house I think, certainly not a year!


Beautiful little humming bird. Love the colours.


Wow, did you design the wine label? Think it has your stamp on it. So nice to see you last week.... And..lunch at wendy's on the 27th. Would love you to be there if you can. Let me know. Dx


The stitchery is amazing - no matter how long I look at it I don't believe it! Thank you for sharing.

And I love the wine label! Is this only for private consumption or are your parents in the wine business?


This birdie is fabulous, Nini !!! What a wonderful memories, for your parents, of you and of these holidays altogether ! Super congrats !!!
I can almost picture you embroidering everywhere you go. These could have been fun "take-away-craft" photos for your group ! I wonder how you find enough light in all these places, you might have lynx eyes :)

Lisa at Lil Fish Studios

I miss my hummingbirds. In the summer we hang feeders outside our windows and I can watch them drink just a foot from my head when I'm on the couch. One of my true joys.

Don't you just love Rick Beerhorst's work? And that crewel embroidery is stunning.

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